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Top of camera controls

On the top of the camera is the rectangular shutter release button, beside this is the power button which is recessed just enough so as not to be accidentally pressed. What I didn't like very much about the EX-Z3's shutter release button was its sensitivity and how difficult it was to just get to the half-press position. This is fine if you just want to shoot without preparing / checking auto focus beforehand, however a stiffer half-press position would be most welcome.

A bit like its half-sibling the Pentax Optio S the EX-Z3 appears to have no buffer ability, this means that as long as it is writing an image you can not take another shot, shutter release is blocked.


Rear of camera controls

As noted previously the LCD monitor dominates the rear of the EX-Z3, thus all controls are to be found on the right side (where your thumb would rest). I wasn't too happy with this layout and received several comments from other people who had tried the EX-Z3 and said that they found themselves accidentally pressing the MENU or up / Focus mode button. The EX-Z3 has a dedicated play mode (not shooting priority) which means you simply flick the PLAY / REC lever to the left to switch to play mode.

Buttons functions in shooting (record) mode

Icon
 
Mode

Zoom wide

Press the zoom lever in this direction to zoom towards wide angle (35 mm equiv.), there are seven steps from telephoto to wide angle.

Zoom telephoto

Press the zoom lever in this direction to zoom towards telephoto (105 mm equiv.)

MENU

Menu

Enters or leaves the camera menu.

Focus mode

• Auto focus
• Macro auto focus
• Infinity lock (landscape)
• Manual focus (magnifies center of frame while focusing)

4-way direction controller

Up arrow changes focus mode (above), down arrow changes flash mode (below). Left and right are used to switch between shooting modes: Auto exposure (still photography), Best Shot (scene modes), Movie clips.

SET

SET / Confirm

Has no function in shooting mode other than in menus and to confirm setting changes.

Flash mode

• Auto Flash
• Flash Off
• Flash On (fill-in)
• Flash On with red-eye reduction

DISP

Display

Switches the current LCD monitor display mode:

• Default display (brief settings, image size/quality, exposure mode, date)
• Histogram display (as default display plus overlaid live histogram)
• AF brackets (just AF brackets)
• LCD monitor off

Buttons functions in play mode

Icon
 
Mode

Thumbnail index (nine image display)

Press this button once to switch to a 3x3 thumbnail index, press again for calendar view (month shown), first image taken on a day is shown on the calendar. Navigate images using the 4-way controller and press SET to return to a single image view.

Magnify

Magnifies the current image up to 4x zoom, once magnified you can pan around the image using the 4-way controller. Press OK to return to a single image view. There are four steps to 4x zoom.

MENU

Menu

Enters the play menu which provides functions such as slideshow, calendar, favorites, album, protect, rotation, resize, trimming and even an alarm.

Album

Displays the Album menu where you can choose from ten different templates in combination with various page formatting settings to produce a HTML album on the storage card. This album can be used to browse images directly off the card or for upload to a website.

4-way direction controller

In single image view press left or right to browse through images, in thumbnail index view you can use all four arrows to move around the images, in magnified view you can use the arrows to pan around the magnified image.

SET

SET / Confirm

Has no function in shooting mode other than in menus and to confirm setting changes and return to single view mode from either thumbnail index or calendar view modes.

Delete

Pressing the erase button displays a Cancel / Delete / All Files Delete pop-up dialog.

DISP

Display

Switches the current LCD monitor display mode:

• Default display (filename, image size/quality, date and time)
• Histogram display (as above plus exposure info, settings and a histogram overlaid)
• No overlay (just the image, no information)

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